How to catch a liar at the office

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We’ve all heard employees tell “little white lies” and while most seem relatively harmless, they can actually have a big impact in the long- run – so how do you spot a serial storyteller? Here, the experts weigh in.

Dishonest epidemic

Most people tell lies from time to time and they’re probably more common than you realise – a University of Massachusetts study found that during a 10-minute phone conversation, 60 per cent of adults lied at least once.

Most of these are simply “social lies” or little white lies that ease interaction – according to a study of 2,000 adults, the most common fib told by both men and women is “nothing’s wrong, I’m fine.”

Lies like this are largely harmless but in the workplace, these “social lies” – constructed to avoid conflict and confrontation – can have serious consequences.

It’s not little and it’s not white

For example, you ask employee if they’re on top of everything and they say yes, out of fear for their reputation. Eventually, this worker will become overwhelmed and both their wellness and productivity will suffer.

Royce Leather CEO Andrew Bauer says one employee’s so-called little white lie almost lost him a major client.

The company was due to launch a new product with a major department store and a week before debut Bauer checked everything was ready to go – had the goods been ordered? The company’s operations manager said yes.

Two weeks later, Bauer got a call from the store asking when the product would arrive - that’s when Bauer discovered the order hadn’t been placed in time.  


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